Fabulous Fiction Firsts #535 - “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” ~ C.S. Lewis

The Royal We * * by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, (co-creators of one of the wittiest celebrity fashion blog, Go Fug Yourself and 2 teen novels - Spoiled and Messy), are charming readers with this modern-day Cinderella tale for adults.

Des Moines native Rebecca "Bex" Porter unlike her twin Lacey, is never one for fairy tales. As an exchange (Cornell) student at Oxford, she looks forward to "art, antiquities and history" and thus pays no attention to the "sandy-haired guy" who answers the porter's bell and who happens to be the heir to the British throne, Prince Nicholas. And when Bex can't resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

The novel opens on the eve of the most talked-about wedding of the century, Bex reflects on what she's sacrificed for love -- and exactly whose heart she may yet have to break.

"Parallels to the love story of Prince William and Kate Middleton are obvious, but the authors create their own unique and endearing characters with Bex and Nick along with an entertaining cast of characters including lovable rogue Prince Freddie, Nick's younger brother; Bex's twin, Lacey; and a bunch of colorful school chums. Royal watchers and chick-lit fans alike will delight in this sparkling tale. Pure fun." If you enjoy this debut, I bet you won't be disappointed with (the latest in the Princess Diaries series) Meg Cabot's Royal Wedding.

Minnow * *, the 2014 South Carolina First Novel Prize winner, by James McTeer II is "a memorable coming-of-age story brimming with unexpected encounters with man, beast, and nature, and some magic thrown in for good measure."

Young Minnow's father is dying of a mysterious illness. The local pharmacist points him to a local hoodoo healer Dr. Crow, thus launching him on an increasingly strange and dangerous quest that will take him deep into the South Carolina Sea Islands. There Minnow is to take soil from the grave of Sorry George, an infamous practitioner of black magic, as payment for a cure.

This compellingly dark debut full of Southern mystery and lore is inspired by the author's (a school librarian) grandfather - a sheriff of the Low Country for decades as well as a local witch doctor. A captivating crossover for teens and especially for fans of Karen Russell's beloved Ava Bigtree in Swamplandia!

* * = 2 starred reviews

New Blexbolex: PEOPLE

Enigmatic French artist and designer Blexbolex won numerous awards for his 2010 book Seasons. His latest book, People, features his signature style of illustrations, and depicts all sorts of people, real, imaginary, historical and legendary. Each illustration of an individual features a single descriptive phrase above it, such as PLUMBER, HIGH DIVER or MARIONETTE. As readers peruse through Blexbolex’s amazing images, they’ll enjoy discovering the connections between his different people. The breath of a shivering man crosses the page to become the smoke from a smoker’s cigarette. A painter, a graffiti artist, a poster hanger and an abstract artist are all depicted in succession and the differences and similarities in their tasks are made subtly clear. I just love how simple and clever Blexbolex’s work is, and how his diverse renderings of people break down preconceived notions of what a traditional WARRIOR or CYCLIST or MAGICIAN might look like. People is a great household book and is enjoyable for every age.

She Blinded Me With Science

A few new fact books in the same series have hit the shelves in the youth department that immediately caught my eye. With bright, colorful photographs and diagrams, along with easy to read small blurbs of factual information, it’s a winner for the curious of all ages.

Extraordinary: Facts from the everyday to the exceptional answers questions about the biggest, smallest, slowest, coldest, etc., on a variety of topics such as space, human body, history, plants, and places. Why don’t haircuts hurt? How do mushrooms grow so fast? What game do 250 million people play? Can a car run on chocolate?

Weird Or What: A cornucopia of curious questions and answers delves into topics such as earth, history, nature, transportation, and society and culture. How big is a swarm? Why is an octopus spineless? Who decides what’s fashion? Which animals lived in the ice age?

If you’re into books such as the Guiness Book of World Records these are right up your alley.

World Wide Knit in Public Day!

Today is World Wide Knit in Public Day! The mission is "better living through stitching together." 56 countries are participating and 882 knit-in-public events are taking place, and I hear that is record participation! Are you knitting in public today?!

The AADL is chock full of amazing knitting books, whether you’re a novice or a pro, and whether it’s summer or winter. And let’s face it, knitting outside is much more enjoyable in the summer than in the winter. So if you’re out and about today and see someone knitting in public, give them a thumbs up!

2015 Summer Reading Lists

Let's start with The New York Times Cool Books for Hot Summer Days.

Female Literati Pick Summer's Best Books, 11 top women novelists share their favorite warm-weather reading choices, among them : Nell Freudenberger, Meg Wolitzer, Lily King, Miranda July, Adelle Waldman, and Maggie Shipstead. If you recognize these names, you like Women's Fiction. Well, here is The Huffington Post's recommendations to get you started for the summer.

And for the Romance reader: Romance for the Real Girl.

Speaking of style... Vogue's Megan O'Grady shares This Summer's Best Beach Reads.

Want to know what I'll be packing in my beach bag? 17 Of The Best Books Of Summer 2015.. Don't want to miss out? Hurry and put reserves on these early summer releases.

And finally, the 2015 edition of the UC Berkeley Summer Reading List for New Students. It offers a potluck of great suggestions from the faculty. "Is this required reading? Absolutely not. Do we hope you'll find something on this list that appeals to you? Absolutely yes."

And you know Summer Game 2015 is HERE, don't you?


OH. MY. GLOB. SUMMER GAME just got rolling mere HOURS ago and already it’s off to a MIND-BLOWING start!

Over 500 of you summer game SUPER-GENIUSES have scored points and there’s some absolutely INTENSE code-hunting going on at the branches! You guys are absolutely ASTONIGHING! Seriously STUPEFYING! Summer Game WIZARDS, that’s what you are! For the past 9 hours you guys have been TAGGING, REVIEWING, LISTING, and especially COMMENTING up a storm to let us know JUST how excited you are that SUMMER GAME 2015 is finally, finally (FINALLY) here!

And we TOTALLY hear you guys! We’re excited too! We know you can’t POSSIBLY HANDLE any more suspense, so without further ado: THE FIRST BADGE DROP OF 2015!!!

2015 Badge Drop #1

That’s right, guys. Take it ALL in. The NERDY, MYSTERIOUS, BEAR-COVERED BRILLIANCE! We pretty much CANNOT wait to see just how many of you CONQUER these badges!

And don’t forget for anyone just getting started, earning those GETTING STARTED badges is a CINCH! So WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GET TO IT!

And of course, as ALWAYS, and until FOREVER:


PreK Bits - "D" is for Driving

You have to be careful when you drive.
There are consequences.
Ms. Rachel told two stories about driving.
The first story was a cautionary tale ... DON’T LET The PIGEON DRIVE The BUS by Mo Willems. You probably already know why.
Ms. Sara accompanied the song "Wheels On The Bus" while Ms. Rachel led the motions.
You can hear “Wheels On The Bus” on the CD HONK HONK RATTLE RATTLE
Ms. Rachel tried to teach a driving lesson, just like the book IN The DRIVER’S SEAT.
The library no longer owns a circulating copy of the book but you can request this title from MelCat Michigan Electronic Library, using your AADL card.

If you want to continue on this theme, try the following titles:
MOO! by David LaRochelle
MITCHELL’S LICENSE by Hallie Durand.
AXLE ANNIE And The SPEED GRUMP by Robin Pulver.
MILES To GO by Jamie Harper.
RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT by Anastasia Suen.
LET'S GO For A DRIVE by Mo Willems
Remember to adjust your mirrors when you take the driver's seat!
Also use your turn signal lights.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #534

London playwright and actor Jason Hewitt's debut The Dynamite Room * has been called "(a)ccomplished, resonant and surprising." ~ The Guardian.

In July 1940, 11-year-old Lydia, an evacuee in Wales tracks home to the seaside town of Grayfriar, gas mask in tow, only to find it eerily deserted. With her father and brother in active service, Lydia settles into their shuttered home to wait her mother's return. Her first night there, Lydia is awaken from her troubled sleep by an intruder - a gun-wielding, wounded German soldier in British uniform, who won't hurt Lydia as long as she does not leave the house.

Over the course of six sweltering summer days, the two warily coexist in their claustrophobic confines, becoming dependent on each other for survival. Lydia soon realizes that Heiden, a Berlin cellist before the war, knows more than he should about her family; and suspects that he is plotting and preparing them for something far beyond his orders.

"In this fine balance of taut suspense and tragedy, Hewitt has created an emotionally charged character study in which he explores the loneliness, fear, hope, and shame that war visits on ordinary people."

An obvious readalike to Bette Greene's Summer of My German Soldier, but will likely appeal to those who enjoyed William Trevor's The Story of Lucy Gault; Ian McEwan's Atonement; and Pat Barker's Toby's Room.

* = starred review

New Adult Nonfiction: Plant-based Diet for Families

Don’t miss these upcoming additions to AADL’s collection of plant-based, vegan cookbooks. Get your holds placed now!

Plant-Powered Families: Over 100 Kid-Tested, Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes, by veteran cookbook author Dreena Burton, has over 100 whole-food recipes for meals, desserts, and snacks made to appeal to the whole family, with such comforting fare as Sunday morning pancakes, hummus tortilla pizzas, teriyaki stir fry, smoky bean chili, and the intriguingly named Apple Nachos Supreme! Burton shares her insight into managing a plant-based household, including how to please picky eaters, packing school lunches, and navigating tricky social situations. There are also nutritionist-approved references for dietary concerns.

Rich Roll’s first book, Finding Ultra, chronicles his fall from elite college swimmer to middle-aged, out of shape lawyer and his ascent back into the spotlight after switching to a vegan diet and becoming a famous ultra-distance athlete. A sincere believer in the power of plants to change your life, Roll has released The Plantpower Way: Whole Foods Plant-Based Recipes and Guidance for the Whole Family. Roll works with his chef wife Julie Piatt to bring more than 120 easy, whole-food recipes to your kitchen, including meal ideas, sides, drinks, and sweets. It also talks about sprouting, superfoods, and fermented foods. The Plantpower Way isn’t just a cookbook; it’s a primer on the plant-based lifestyle. The last chapter of the book focuses on three different lifestyle paths that the plantpower way may start you on: vitality, performance, and transformation.

For more books about cooking vegan for the whole family, check out this list.

Stonewall Award 2015 Winner and Honor's for Children's and Young Adult Literature

The Stonewall Award is an annual award handed out by the ALA for books that recognizes exceptional merit relating to the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT) experience. The award has different winners for adults, young adults, and non-fiction.

This years winner for the Youth award (the Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award) was This Day in June a picture book that illustrates a pride parade. It also includes some wonderful end matter that explains GLBT history and some of the references made in the book.

The honors books are
Beyond Magenta: transgender teens speak out a book where 6 transgendered or gender neutral young adults are interviewed and photographed in order to represent them before, during, and after their acknowledgement of gender preference.

I’ll Give You the Sun a story about Jude and Noah two twins. Noah keeps falling in love with the boy next door and Jude cliff-dives and wears red lipstick and does the talking for both of them, but three years later neither one of them talks much. Just what could have happened to cause this change?

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress is a story about a boy who love to wear a tangerine dress, his adventures and how he deals with adversity.

If you are interested in past stonewall winners check out this list

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